Williamson County deputies involved in Javier Ambler case sue over Ambler’s autopsy

Williamson County

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Two Williamson County deputies involved in the Javier Ambler case are suing the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office over Ambler’s autopsy records.

In March 2019 after failing to pull over for a traffic stop, Ambler died in the custody of Williamson County deputies during a taping for the A&E reality show “Live PD.”

Now, deputies Zach Camden and Jason Johnson want access to Ambler’s autopsy records in hopes of shedding light on what happened.

The suit says they pursued Ambler that night. An Austin Police Department report said Ambler crashed several times before he was tased and taken into custody. Body camera footage from an Austin Police Department officer who also responded captures Ambler saying, “I have congestive heart failure” and “I can’t breathe.”

The lawsuit says the deputies were misrepresented in the media based off reports of the body cam video.

They allege the news stories “have stated and implied that [the deputies] did something wrong during their encounter with Mr. Ambler, despite that fact that [the deputies] were found to have violated no policies of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office.”

In August, the lawsuit says the deputies requested Ambler’s autopsy report, but it was denied on the grounds that its release would interfere with the investigation.

Camden and Johnson are requesting the autopsy, along with toxicology reports, be released.

“The Texas Attorney General previously ruled to withhold certain information based upon the Austin Police Department’s assertion of an exception to disclosure because of their pending criminal investigation,” a statement from Travis County Public Information Officer Hector Nieto said in part. “Due to the pending litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further on the details of this cause of action.”

Read his full statement below:

“The Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office (TCME) is aware of the lawsuit. The Texas Attorney General previously ruled to withhold certain information based upon the Austin Police Department’s assertion of an exception to disclosure because of their pending criminal investigation.  Due to the pending litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further on the details of this cause of action. TCME’s top priority is to provide independent and scientific opinions on the cause and manner of death on the cases it considers. TCME is committed to providing excellent service to Travis County and other jurisdictions it serves. We will continue to comply with the ruling of the Attorney General and any rulings of the Court in this matter.”

Hector Nieto, Travis County Public Information Officer

Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody was arrested this week for a felony charge of tampering with evidence in relation to Ambler’s death. The indictment says Chody tried to destroy or conceal video recordings of the incident to impair the investigation.

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